Self-Care Is Not Selfish
Updated: Jan 26, 2021
You cannot pour from an empty cup.
Self-care has become a buzz word we often associate with privilege. When you hear the word you might think of a spa, a vacation, a wine tasting... some other life where you have the luxury of endless time and boundless wealth.
When self-care comes up in therapy I most often hear:
I don't have time for self-care.
I can't afford to spend money on myself.
I need to take care of my family first.
Self-care can be misconstrued as a selfish indulgence. Today, I invite you to consider a different view, to explore what it truly means to care for yourself.
Have you ever taken care of a plant, a pet, a person? Remember a moment when you approached that being with tenderness, sensitivity, and genuine kindness. What was it like? Maybe you misted leaves gingerly. Maybe you gently stroked downy fur. Maybe you rocked a baby to sleep. Maybe you held someone's hand as they died.
What might your life look like if you treated yourself with the same consideration you offer to others?
What is self-care?
Self-care is a conscious act to promote your well-being. It is a choice.
Self-care is personal because it is attuned to you. There is no right or wrong when it comes to self-care so long as it serves you. Self-care is about tapping into what your mind/body needs to recharge. It is about softening self-judgment in order to offer yourself kindness.
So where do we begin if self-care has been the furthest thing from our consciousness?
I invite you to start where you are, in this moment, with a simple check in.
I invite you to place both hands over your heart.
I invite you to notice how it feels to offer yourself this gesture of compassion.
I invite you to ask yourself with genuine curiosity: How does my heart feel? Full? Tender? Broken?
I invite you to ask yourself with genuine curiosity: What would fill my cup?
I invite you to listen and consider whatever arises with the same warmth and willingness you would offer to someone you love.
I invite you to bow your head gently and offer yourself gratitude for showing up in this moment.
The following are some foundational self-care practices to start you on your journey.
Getting enough sleep is essential to overall well-being. I invite you to create a sleep routine that communicates to your body that rest time is approaching. Perhaps turning off all devices an hour before bed. Perhaps engaging in some simple stretches or gentle yoga. Perhaps playing soothing music or soundscapes. I invite you to create a sleep routine that lulls you to sleep with the tenderness of a lullaby.
Just like the plant, the pet, or the person, our bodies require water and food. I invite you to listen to your hunger cues and take the time to feed and water yourself with care.
We all need to move energy through our bodies. I invite you to find movement that reminds you that you are alive, that allows you to appreciate the fact that you have a body. Maybe you walk, run, bike, swim. Maybe you dance in a virtual class or in your kitchen. Maybe you practice yoga or martial arts. Maybe you play a socially distanced version of a sport. There are so many ways to move and so many ways to accommodate every body with movement.
We are social beings. We are not built to do this alone, nor do we have to. While COVID-19 has certainly placed limitations on our social behavior, there are still ways to engage. Call or text your supports. Maybe write a love letter to a friend, family member, or partner detailing what they mean to you. Maybe have a Zoom party or Netflix watch party. I encourage you to find safe ways to create a sense of togetherness.
I invite you to find the things you enjoy and make space for them in your life. Whether it's reading, art, cooking, camping, singing, or riding a motorcycle. Now more than ever, we need to remember the simple joys and delights of this life.
I hope these self-care ideas help you find your way back to yourself!
For more information about therapy with Eve, visit here.